17h46 UTC; SUNDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2014: I acknowledge, in opening this post off, that the title was inspired by Thomas Wolfe--but I feel it worth noting that, in reflecting upon a funeral for a loved one so dear and close such as my mother (as died a week ago this evening at 93 years of age from internal injuries and complications of kidney failure), it seems that you can't come home again. Especially when you consider that change is inevitable, and that even people change.
Not to mention the weather being liable to change rather suddenly, especially so in a place such as southeastern Minnesota; which was evident in the fact that I arrived back in Caledonia, MN on Thursday afterlunch under bright and pleasant skies, not even thinking about bringing a jacket or wrap ... only to have things cloud over and cool off somewhat, with the odd show of drizzle, on Friday, when the funeral and subsequent burial took place. Some of the family, in fact, couldn't help but recall similar cloudy, dreary conditions when my father was buried in May of 1993, just as record-breaking flooding was starting to make itself known in these parts.
On the other hand, though, Thursday evening saw the whole "kith and kin" (so to speak) gathering at Good Times, a supper clubish sort of restaurant in Caledonia, for a reunion supper that was in itself especially remarkable and long-lasting well into late. Three tables reserved for the greater clan, starting off with a mixed appetiser basket (onion rings, battered cheese curds, battered mushrooms and even battered Jalapeño peppers) at each table and the advice to order what you liked. (My own case: The "Wild Turkey Capital Sandwich," which was pulled turkey, grilled onions and Swiss cheese grilled on cranberry wild rice bread, with sweet potato fries that, at times, tasted a bit undercooked. Beverage was iced tea with some packets of aspertame to sweeten. Come to think of it, where exactly can one get some cranberry wild rice bread for the home, as opposed to restaurants? I admit the bread was rather delicious for someone who is technically on the edge between "normal" and pre-diabetic--and so was the sandwich.)
Breakfast Friday morning (by which time a brother of mine who shared my own motel room had arrived, yet unable to sleep thanks to frequent coughing spells, restlessness forcing him to change sleeping positions and at least four bathroom breaks) was the complimentary such the motel we stayed at offers guests: My own case was a waffle with syrup, a bowl of oatmeal prepared in microwave, wheat toast, a sour cream donut--and some coffee and orange juice besides. And the dress for the day was some mourning that was freshly-purchased for me (not to mention pressed and ironed) with the help of a close brother of mine, who brought me over (and back).
Once at the service, there was the inevitable show of emotion on my part when the hymns for the service were sung, but otherwise, Your Correspondent was capably holding back the excesses of grief which mother herself displayed when dad passed away at a funeral-home visitation. And in my seeing Mother one last time in her casket, the family Bible resting in her lap, I couldn't help but wonder how she looked like Queen Elizaneth II out England way in her final repose, knowing that her 93 years were long and well-lived throughout.
Following her interment at Union Ridge Cemetery, between Caledonia and Hokah should you ask, the funeral party returned to the church hosting the services for a funeral luncheon laid on by the church ladies: baked ham, cheesy scalloped potatoes, rolls, cake and coffee, milk or water for beverage. Rather delicious, if I may say so (and come to think of it, the leftover ham slices made their way to the supper Friday evening at my brother's house, which I made into modest sandwiches with the leftover rolls for myself--and some caffeine-free Pepsi, with a couple of bottles of water early on ... but not before the final wills of my parents were read and some property was sorted over; I will spare the reader the specific details given their sensitive nature). Even then, the cloudiness and windy conditions continued save for a few peeks of sunshine later on, with a chill in the air being all the more discernible as darkness began setting in.
(Oh, and did I mention where you could see the "selfies" becoming quite frequent among such within the family with camera smartfones?)
Saturday morning, as family members were preparing to return home: The same cloudy and breezy conditions as Friday, complicated by a touch of drizzle on the overnight, was threatening a planned balloon rally liftoff in Caledonia. Though no official announcement had been made by around 7 that morning, when I got up, vis-à-vis the balloons, the family was preparing for a send-off breakfast just down the road from the motel at a favourite local eatery known as the Redwood Cafe, filling up the back room thereof to the extent that some wags among us, in the conversation, thought should be restyled for the family. And while the memories were plenty, if the contacts were but fleeting, many had to go back home by way of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, even allowing for the drive, rental-car return and security screenings; hence, there was much to be had over a more typical small-town cafe breakfast in terms of goodbyes and promises to keep in touch and keep the memories of mother close in our hearts and minds.
(Incidentally, I chose their Everything Omelet--cheese, bacon, sausage, ham, diced peppers and onions, even bits of tomato--made with egg substtiute, a side of has browns, wholemeal toast and hot tea on the side, at that breakfast.)
And after checking out and getting my things--including some flowers as were delivered for the funeral in mother's memory--my brother drove me back home, surrounded by some rather potent fall colours on the hills and blufflands such as dominate the local topography. During the drive over, the sun managed to peep through the cloud over time, with the rain having held back.
"You can't go home again"--or can you, especially when you realise things have changed in the some 50 or so years you've been around, even in the so-called "REAL America" of conservative prolefeed delusion?
To close out this post, something of an announcement: Your Correspondent, in seeking to as much "widen his horizons" in the blogosphere as help the healing the process from the loss of a much-loved and yet so close person like his mother by way of his imagination, is in the early stages of developing a second blog.
A blog which is, essentially, inspired by as much the loss of animation from the Saturday-morning schedules of FreeVee in the United States about a fortnight back as well as the recent announcement by Boomerang, a sister channel of the Cartoon Network cable channel, that it would be undergoing a major revamp heading into the New Year as would deemphasise its roots in showcasing classic Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers animation, roots going back to when Boomerang was a Sunday-morning staple of Cartoon Network.
Otherwise known as offering some original fanfics, DeviantArt.com stylee, as manage to come out of my Rooibos-enriched imagination involving some of the more obscure and yet whimsically-entertaining specimens of Hanna-Barbera animation. Some involving mashups with specimens of Old Time Radio at their best (one in development right now imagines the Cattanooga Cats playing Duffy's Tavern), others imagining what could be "postcards from the road" in the Anthony Bourdain/Charles Kuralt vein, even imagining some of Hanna-Barbera's vehicles such as the Invisible Scooter of Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch and the CB Bears' garbage truck turning up in the Sonic Drive-In adverts (and no, there isn't a Kids' Meal tie-in) as mashups combining live action backgrounds with animated foregrounds. And some unlikely scenarios for the Hanna-Barbera characters you thought you forgot about.
The whole being tenatively styled "It's So Hanna-Barberaesque."
And, in all likelihood, to be dedicated, notwithstanding its unofficial nature, to the memories of their namesakes, William Hanna (1910-2001) and Joseph Barbera (1911-2006), the latter a very wonderful acquaintenance of mine in the day. As well as to its two greatest vocal talents, Daws Butler (1916-1988) and Don Messick (1926-1997), and its main creative genius (aside from its namesakes), Iwao Takamoto (1925-2007), who helped define Scooby-Doo's character and personality.
In any event, do watch for further details as to its development and launch. And tell especially such of you as are fans of Saturday morning's glory days, when cartoons seemed to dommo the TV (and cable, for the most part, was but to improve reception in difficult terrain).
(Which, incidentally, was railroad telegraphers' shorthand for "goodbye.")
Preferably through e-mail and/or social media:
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Posted by Iludium Phosdex.